Heritage Festival – Discoveries and Rediscoveries a tour with Patrick Callaghan

What a successful Heritage Festival for 2016. Discovering and Rediscovering old gems of Leichhardt North with tour guide Patrick Callaghan . A strong and enthusiastic crowd of 40 joined the tour at 10am at Pioneers Park starting off with the history of Balmain cemetery, and the WW1 Memorial which historically used to be located in the middle of Marion and Norton Street.

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Patrick Callaghan grew up in Leichhardt and remembers walking through Pioneers Park as a young boy when it was a cemetery before it became a park in 1946.

Leichhardt WW1 Memorial has engraved some very significant names such as VC Private Matthew William V.C. , Corporal John Mackey who was a recipient of the Victoria Cross in World War Two.

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The tour continued around to Allen Street to look at the old site of the John Heine Factory, Cyclops Toys, Kings Lawn mowers,  St Columbus school and finally Roebuck Rocking Horses. We heard about the early subdivisions and land grants given to Captain Piper and Hugh Piper. Originally known as  Piperston prior to 1871 when it was renamed “Leichhardt” after Leichhardt Councils first mayor Walter Beames , in an a friendly exchange named the place after the great explorer Ludwig Leichhardt.

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Cyclops Toys established business in 1913 and were originally located at 1 Hay Street Leichhardt.

Currently the building is made-up of designer apartments with brilliant spaces and views, however this building was once the well known factory of Cyclops Toys. Next door to this building  in William Street is the former machine tool manufacturing plant of John Heine and Sons.


Aerial view of John Heine & Son Engineering Works, Leichhardt : with Cylops Toy Factory in background c.1920.

History Week 2014 wrap up – WW1 walking tour Balmain

Both History Week Walking Tours were a great opportunity to explore the honour boards and memorials of Leichhardt and Balmain the weather was brilliant and an engaging group of attendees enjoyed the tour.

Balmain WW1 walking tour began with a tour of loyalty square which claims the fame of being the first memorial to be erected in the midst of WW1. It was unveiled on 23 April 1916 just before the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

Stop 1. Balmain Loyalty Square

This is possibly Australia’s first memorial to WW1 soldiers, unusual because it lists only those killed in action prior to the involvement of the AIF on the Western Front in France.  It was unveiled on 23 April 1916 just before the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landing to record the names of soldiers form this district who have fallen in the service of the Empire. It was the subject of a a Balmain Council design competition in 1915.

A functional structure it was built as a drinking fountain with a circular base and steps of Bowral trachyte and a four sided superstructure of Pyrmont Sandstone.  Balmains dead 38 at the time of its completion are honoured on four marble tablets, below which are four bowls . It is interesting that on later honour roll honour in the Balmain Town Hall there were then 1500 names of serving soldiers.

memorialOur 2nd stop was at the Balmain Rowing Club which displays an honour roll with 73 names of Balmain Men who were members of the Balmain Rowing Club including 11 of which were killed in action including John Booth who lived at 54 Glassop Street, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales and who enlisted on 16 March 1915.honorboard

john-booth-1Private John Booth was a shipwright of Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales was 28 years old when he enlisted at Liverpool, 16 Mar. 1915. He embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A35 Berrima, 25 June 1915 and served with the 20th Battalion, 5th Machine Gun Company A.I.F. at Gallipoli and in Egypt and France. He was killed in action in Belgium, Oct. 1917

JOhn Booth

His Diary can be found on the State Library NSW Website here

A full list of the men mentioned on the Balmain honour board can be found here.

Stop 3: St Andrews Church Balmain – The Soldiers Memorial Hall

St Andrews Congregational Board

St Andrews Presbyterian Honour Board

19 Men are recorded on the St Andrews Church honour Board, they were members of the congregation. Approximately 1300 Men from Balmain are recorded as enlisting for WW1 on the AIF Records, this figure is increased when navy and figures are added bringing it closer to 1800 men.

St Andrews WW1 Honour Board




Below are the details of three men listed on the honour roll.

Thomas Rodger MACNEE

Place of birth Balmain, New South Wales
Religion Congregational
Occupation Civil servant
Address ‘Currawinya’, Elliott Street, Balmain, New South Wales
Marital status Married
Age at embarkation 26
Next of kin Wife, Mrs Myra Kathleen Macnee, ‘Currawinya’, Elliott Street, Balmain, New South Wales
Enlistment date 16 September 1915
Rank on enlistment 2nd Lieutenant (Quartermaster)
Unit name 36th Battalion, Headquarters
AWM Embarkation Roll number 23/53/1
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A72 Beltana on 13 May 1916
Rank from Nominal Roll Captain
Unit from Nominal Roll 36th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards) Mention in Despatches

Awarded, and promulgated, ‘London Gazette’ No. 30706 (28 May 1918); ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 165 (24 October 1918).
Fate Killed in Action 12 April 1918
Age at death from cemetery records 29
Place of burial Heath Cemetery (Plot VIII, Row J, Grave No. 18), Harbonnieres, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
cemetery records
Parents: James and Mary MACNEE; husband of Mrs M.K. MACNEE
Other details War service: Western FrontMedals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
                                                       John GOODSIR
Regimental number                                668
Religion Church of England
Occupation Bank clerk
Address Town Hall, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital status Single
Age at embarkation 21
Next of kin Father, John Goodsir, Town Hall, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military service 44th Howitzer Batt
Enlistment date 19 June 1915
Rank on enlistment Private
Unit name 30th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number 23/47/1
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A72 Beltana on 9 November 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll Sergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll 30th Battalion
Fate Effective abroad (still overseas)


Robert Balmain MILNE

Regimental number 58608
Religion Presbyterian
Occupation Engineer
Address Balmain, New South Wales
Marital status Single
Age at embarkation 19
Next of kin Aunt, Jessy Milne, 5 Alexander Street, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military service 37th Field Company Army Engineers
Enlistment date 11 May 1918
Rank on enlistment Private
Unit name 1st to 15th (NSW) General Reinforcements
AWM Embarkation Roll number 23/111/5
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board A40 Ceramic on 22 December 1914
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A18 Wiltshire on 19 June 1918
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board SS Feldmarschall on 19 June 1918
Rank from Nominal Roll Gunner
Unit from Nominal Roll 3rd Field Artillery Brigade
Fate Returned to Australia 6 September 1919
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll) *Noted Robert NR

A Wonderful Heritage Festival

The Walking Group

The Walking Group

We have had a brilliant Heritage Festival for 2014 with three walking tours two author talks and two exhibitions with over 700 visitors to events. Jason Chatwin led a group of 30 on an  engaging Historical walk around Bicentennial Park, The Crescent and Jubilee Park. Perfect Autumn weather and a journey from the early beginnings of Annandale, Sir John Young, the crescent and early industry to the later Industrial phase of Rozelle Bay with Timber yards and ship industry to the reclamation of the park after the very effective “Save Rozelle Bay Campaign” in the 1980s. With rich historical resources made available through TROVE our online catalogue WEBOPAC and Online resources some amazing historical information can be found.  Keep posted for more walking Tours later on in the year.

Johnstone St. Nth. Annandale, Sydney, in 1883 looking across Rozelle Bay. Toxeth house in the distance.

Jubilee Park

Jubilee Park

Jubilee Park looking over at Viaduct.

Jubilee Park looking over at Viaduct.

Annandale Walking tour